Here are some reviews from The Ultimate Book Guide written by top authors and readers.

A&C Black

The House at Pooh Corner by AA Milne

I like this book because it is funny and you can’t put it down! My favourite part is when Winnie and Piglet build a house for Eeyore, using sticks that were actually Eeyore’s house in the first place. AA Milne wrote his stories and poems for his son Christopher Robin. Winnie-the-Pooh was a teddy bear of Christopher’s, and the other animals were also nursery toys. Ernest Shepard went to see them before he drew his unforgettable pictures.

Jennifer K, Drumlemble Primary School, Argyll

Over and Over: The Story of Seville by Anna Smith & Simon Housten

‘Over and Over’ is the ultimate review of Celtic’s invasion of Seville. It was Celtic’s first European Cup Final for 33 years, and it was a great one. The book is full of detail of the journey, and I wish I was there, even though unfortunately we lost 3-2. The winning goal made you feel like ten knives were being stabbed into your skin all at once. I have read many books but this is my all time favourite because Celtic lived a dream.

Kevin F, Catukin High School, Glasgow

Invisible! by Robert Swindells

Carrie and Conrad are twins who befriend a new girl at school, Rosie, who possesses an exciting, fun, frightening and sometimes even dangerous secret – how to make yourself invisible! They start creeping around listening in on people’s conversations, but suddenly their abilities are needed when Rosemary’s dad becomes a suspect in a crime. The twins and Rosemary decide to find out who really did it…

Laura M, Lylnakirk Primary School, Belfast

Toro Toro by Michael Morpugo

I like the book ‘Toro Toro’ because it is exciting and interesting. The story begins by introducing Antonio, who becomes very good friends with Paco the bull. He even cleans out her stable all by himself, which is a big responsibility for a young boy. The friendship between boy and bull grows, until they become separated and go on separate journeys which toyed with my emotions before an excellent ending.

Nico E, Grange Park Primary School, Co Down

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (one of A Series of Unfortunate Events)

This is a book about three very unlucky children – Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire. From finding out their parents have been killed in a terrible fire, to having to go and live with the dastardly Count Olaf, this is indeed a series of unfortunate events. There’s so much going on you just can’t put it down. The horrible Count Olaf is my favourite character, because he does so many horrible things like hanging Sunny in a birdcage out of a window in a thirty-foot tower.

Francesca M, Baston School

Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Bionic Booger Boy, part 2, by Dav Pilkey

Join Captain Underpants in a crazy adventure, as he battles with the three parts of the Booger Boy. But uh oh! Look out for the stupid nerd Melvin Sneedy. This book has a flip o’ rama, an accompanying website, lots of fun, lots of laughs, and lots of UNDERPANTS.

James W, Rathen School, Aberdeenshire

Loads of Trouble by Andrew Matthews

Toby and his helper Bart are not happy – they look after Lady Feeblebrick’s elephants, so they have to look after the dung heap too. But people are complaining about the steaming eyesore. So where can they dump the elephant dung? Their search for a spot becomes an amazing adventure.

By Matthew R, Grange Park Primary, Bangor

Animorphs: The Encounter by Katherine Applegate

This book is one of a series of sinister escapades written by the exciting author Katherine Applegate. The animorphs are a group that inherited morphing powers from an advanced civilisation, and who are not forced into battle with the Yeerls who are leeches that attach to your brain and control your body. I enjoyed this book because the author created spellbinding tension and suspense. The writing is magnificent and supplies you with some enticing attributes such as the characters’ point of view and a strong sense of inclusion. I would recommend this book for practised readers, and the strong at heart.

Rory P, St Mary’s, Maguirebridge

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson

‘Ella Enchanted’ is a fiction fairy story about Ella, a rich girl in her teens. She has been ‘cursed’ accidentally with the gift of obedience, and now she does everything she is told to. She would jump off a cliff if you asked her. But will she be able to break the curse, and does Prince Charming love her too? This is an excellent book packed full of magic, goblins and spells.

Grace P, Sanday Community School, Orkney

Vicky Angel by Jacqueline Wilson

This book is about two girls, Vicky and Jade, who are best friends, until Vicky is tragically hit by a car. But she comes back as an angel, enabling them to have all kinds of fun. The book is funny, with well described characters, and I think older junior girls would love it.

Rebecca M, Baston School

Cockatoos by Quentin Blake

This is a fabulous book about some cockatoos who escape from Professor Dupont because they’re tired of him saying the same things again and again. You will enjoy reading it and finding the cockatoos hidden among the marvellous illustrations.

Joel P, St Mark’s C of E Primary School, Hampshire

Skeleton Key, by Anthony Horowitz

This book, the third in a series of four, is about a fourteen year old MI6 spy called Alex Rider, who is sent to Skeleton Key to investigate a suspicious Russian general named Alexi Sarov, who plans to blow up part of Russia with nuclear submarines. This is a brilliant book because of its cliffhangers, non-stop action, and ingenious gadgets such as chewing gum that can crack anything, a mobile phone that shoots darts, and a stun grenade disguised as a Michael Owen figure. Its only weaknesses are the occasional unrealism, and I didn’t like the kissing. But still, I couldn’t put it down.

Christopher S, St Mark’s C of E Primary School, Hampshire

Kipper – Story Collection by Mick Inkpen

This fantastic Kipper book contains four fabulous stories. Can he find the perfect bed? Why does he mysteriously have so many toys? Will his friends make it to his birthday party? And what does a dog do on a snowy day? The book has bright, colourful pictures, and will encourage young kids to read more.

Shane G, St Mark’s C of E Primary School, Hampshire

The Lottie Project, by Jacqueline Wilson

‘The Lottie Project’ is about a girl called Charlie (DON’T call her Charlotte and her adventures while doing a project on the Victorians. Sounds boring right? Wrong. Among the hi-jink that occur, Charlie’s mum loses her job, Charlie moves next to the class swot Mark, it emerges that Mark’s dad might like Charlie’s mum, and as Charlie gets into the story of Lottie the Victorian nursery maid, we find that they have much in common. This is a great read. There is some humour, romance, and scary moments. Although the main character is a girl, this will appeal to boys and girls alike. There’s something for everyone!

Amy M, The Irish Society’s Primary School, Coleraine

Mr Mubble’s Fabulous Flybrows, by Jamie Rix

This is a funny and enjoyable book about a man who has such big eyebrows that he cannot explore the world because he would not fit into any moving vehicle. But then one day he looked out of the window and got blown away, so he got to explore the world after all.

Aoife O, St Mary’s School, Saintfielt

We Won the Lottery, by Schoo Rayner

When a family wins the lottery, surely that must be the end of their problems? But this book tells you that money isn’t everything. I liked it for its humour, and would give it seven out of ten.

Chris T, Gilnakirk Primary, Northern Ireland.

The Divide, by Elizabeth Kay

The book ‘The Divide’ is based in fiction. Its main character focus is a teenage boy called Felix. Felix is not your usual hero. Though brave and intelligent, he suffers from a rare heart condition, meaning that he must live every day like his last.

His parents take him on a holiday of a lifetime to Costa Rica where they visit the Continental Divide. The Divide is the point where all the water on one side goes into the Atlantic Ocean, while the other side splashes into the Pacific. There, Felix faints – and something extraordinary happens.

He wakes up in an amazing back to front world where mythical creatures are real and humans are imaginary!

Luckily, he is taken under the wing of Ironclaw, an enormous, maths-loving Brazzle who together with Betony, a mischievous tangle-girl, sets out to help Felix find a magical cure and the way back home.

Bronwyn M, Age 11

The Clere School, Burghclere, Newbury, Berkshire, RG20 9HP

The Blurred Man, by Anthony Horowitz

This is definitely one of my favourite books. It is a really unusual story about a man that got flattened to death by a steamroller!

His name was Lenny Smile and he ran a company. The company was called Dreamtime, which was a children’s charity. It was owned by Joe Carter who was a millionaire. He gave away lots of money and paid two detectives to find out what happened. This is when the story gets interesting.

The detectives were the Diamond Brothers. Tim Diamond was the worst detective ever and his brother Nick thinks he is very funny but he’s not. The detectives try to find out just what did happen.

I think all boys will love this book and I can’t wait to read the next story.

Adam A-S Age 9

St Mark’s C.E.  Primary School, Queens Road, Farnborough, Hants, GU14 6DU

Sleep-overs, by Jacqueline Wilson

This book is about a group of girls who made up a gang. It was called the alphabet gang. The reason why it is called the alphabet gang is because all of the girls who are in the gang (Amy, Bella, Chloe, Daisy, Emily) are in the order of the alphabet.

I like this book because all the girls in the gang are gifted. Amy is gifted with laughter, Bella is gifted with happiness, Chloe is gifted with luckiness, Daisy is gifted with prettiness and Emily is a gifted footballer. And this book gives me good ideas for my own sleepovers.

Annabel A, Age 8

St Mark’s C.E.  Primary School, Queens Road, Farnborough, Hants, GU14 6DU

The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

My favourite book is ‘The Hobbit’. If you like ‘The Hobbit’ you’ll definitely want to see or read ‘The Lord of the Rings’. ‘The Hobbit’ is about a hobbit named Bilbo who is very comfortable in his little hobbit hole. His friend Gandalf (a wizard) came and got him to come on an adventure with him. Now I’m not going to tell you anything else. You’ll have to read it to find out.

I think the book is good because it’s really exciting. I don’t really like to read adventure stories but this one is brilliant. It hasn’t got very many pictures in it but it has a few maps of where Bilbo goes.

I haven’t got any criticisms because this book is brilliant. I would recommend it to anyone!

Charlotte R. Age 11 Barston School

The Edge Chronicles

‘The Edge Chronicles’ are the best books I have ever read. There are seven books.

The Edge is another world full of strange creatures such as Bander-bears, waigs and spindlebugs. People also use skyships to get around. These are ships but with a special rock which makes them fly. They use medieval weapons, they are very much ahead of us in some ways.

These books are fantastic, and with the author’s imagination, and the illustrator’s amazing pictures, you can never put them down! These books are addictive! I first read them because so many people have recommended them, and from my recommendations so many people are reading them and are hooked on them!

These exhilarating books are so good that I would recommend them to anyone. I give 10 out of 10 for ‘The Edge Chronicles’.

Alexander A, Age 11

The Clere School, Burghclere, Newbury, Berkshire, RG20 9HP

The BFG Roald Dahl

The BFG uses some extraordinary words, but then he’s no ordinary giant. He’s the kindest giant you could hope to meet and he turns out to be Sophie’s best friend. The trouble is, not all giants are quite as friendly. So Sophie and the BFG set out to rid the world of Bloodbottler, the Fleshlumpeater, the Bonecruncher and other nasty giants forever.

Sarah M, Gilnahirk Primary School

Point Blank Anthony Horowitz

This book is about a teenager named Alex Rider who works for MI6. The story is full of suspense and thrills, as Alex completes one more of his daring missions. Towards the end of the book is one of the most exciting parts as Alex snowboards down a mountain on a customised ironing board, I was on the edge of my seat. Of course, Alex discovers the truth just in time.

Calum M, Kippen Primary School.

The Demon Headmaster Gillian Cross

The book is about a girl called Dinah who realises something is horribly wrong in her new school. The children are acting strangely. They are well-behaved and they even work during playtime. I like this book because it is mysterious and it is very interesting. The book is addictive, once you start reading it is hard to put down. It is a very strange book and sometimes it is hilarious. I enjoyed the main character Dinah because she uncovers the mystery in the story. She stands out because she is courageous and stands up to the teacher.

Richard T, St Mary’s Primary School

George’s Marvellous Medicine Roald Dahl

George lived on a farm with his mother, father and grandma. His grandma was a grumpy old lady with funny eating habits. One Saturday morning his mother went shopping in the village and told him to give his grandma her medicine at eleven o’clock. Firstly his grandma said "Get me a cup of tea." but it was not sweet enough so George put some more sugar in. Grandma still complained and George got cross. When it was eleven o’clock George played a trick on her. He got a large saucepan and mixed in toothpaste, floor polish, flea powder, canary seed, brown paint and other things with her medicine. Before he tried it on Grandma he gave some to the chickens, goat, pigs and his horse Jack Frost and they all grew bigger and bigger and bigger. Then he tried it on Grandma and she grew to the size of a crane. When his dad came back he laughed and they mixed another special medicine and tried it on Grandma. This time she got as small as a pumpkin seed and then disappeared completely. I enjoyed this book because it made me laugh.

Matthew H, Grange Park Primary School

Harry and the Wrinklies Alan Temperley

Young Harry Barton lives in a big house in Hampstead with his nanny Gestapo Lil while his parents are abroad. Until one day Harry’s parents are killed in an accident and Harry is sent to live with his great aunts, aunt Florrice, aunt Bridget and all their friends at Lag Hall. They all have a big secret. But now Gestapo Lil is back because Harry’s parents owe her money, so now Harry and his new friends must beat Gestapo Lil and her fiancee Colonel Priestly. Author Alan Temperley should be proud. I give it a rating of five stars.

Charlotte B, Rathen Primary School

Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism Georgia Byng

Molly Moon was found in a box labelled Moon’s Marshmallows as a baby. She now lives in Hardwick House, an orphanage. Ten years of her life have been spent there and she hates it! Her best friend is Rocky and when they find a hypnotism book they can’t imagine what adventures they are going to get up to. Molly escapes the orphanage and flies to New York wanting fame and fortune. But her hypnotism leads her to the enemy...

Katie M, Gilnahirk Primary School


This book is the best – it is just so comical! Violet and Lily are twins, but they are really unhappy about it. Lily is the loud party girl with loads of friends. Whereas Violet is the quiet "I like writing books in my room" sort of person. They are completely different and they hate it when people can’t tell them apart, because they are not identical twins. Violet manages to get herself a pen-pal which she is really pleased about. But will she be able to keep her? Violet keeps having to take bits of Lily’s exciting life, but does all go well when she meets her pen-pal? Find out when you read the book.

Alex B, Deansfield Primary.


I enjoyed this book because Philip Pullman is one of my favourite authors. He is very good at making unusual twists in the story, such as the bit where the person who is trying to catch Hildi (Herr Snivelhurst) falls in a river.

This story is extremely funny, exciting and scary all jumbled into one. You’ll like it whatever kind of stories you like. It is about a demon huntsman who comes to claim his human prey because Count Karlstein had made a bargain with him. Only Hildi and her (criminal to some, hero to others) brother can stop him. This story will take you to the tops of mountains and trees, into caves and valleys and to the bottom of rivers. This is a first class super cool book.

Alexander C, Arnold House School.


This novel deals with the trauma and excitement of a family during the time of the war. The girl, Anna lives in Germany with her mum, dad, brother and a maid. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit is set in 1933. Anna has a nice life, lots of toys and many friends. Then her dad discovers that he is wanted by the Nazis and the family flee to Switzerland. When they need to move again they move to France. At the end of the book the family move to London to stay with relatives.

This book made me realise what the war must have been like for people that were alive then and how terrible it must have been. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit is based on what the author, Judith Kerr, experienced when she was a child. In the postscript she says how hard it must have been for her parents to keep it from her, how she realised later just how dangerous that time must have been.

This book really made me realise a lot of things and made me think just how lucky we are. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who likes reading, or anyone else for that matter. I enjoyed the story so much I read it twice and my mum has read it too.

Lindsay M, Caneyhill School

VICKY ANGEL Jacqueline Wilson

Vicky Angel is a really good book because it is really sad but uplifting at the same time. You’re thinking "What? How can a story be sad and happy at the same time?" Crazy isn’t it?

Vicky Angel (not angle) is about two best friends: one is called Jade and the other is called Vicky. When they were having an argument (like best friends do) Vicky rushes into the road and gets run over by a car. Naturally Jade is shattered and since Vicky bossed Jade around a bit, Jade is lost without her. Vicky however is alive and kicking (even though she’s dead) and the kicks are all aimed at Jade. Vicky isn’t an angel, she’s a ghost. Gradually she makes Jade more and more miserable until Jade is a nervous wreck. Luckily Jade starts counselling and learns not to let Vicky rule her, to lock her out. The book ends on a happy note though, as little Vicky flaps her angel wings and soars into the sky.

I really enjoyed this book because it really makes you think. I’ve never really lost anyone but I know people who have and it must be terrible for them. I also like this book because it is really really funny. Usually books are like "ha ha (old joke) big deal" but Vicky Angel is new, exciting and fresh. It makes you feel alive (pardon the expression).

If you don’t really want to read this book then don’t despair. Jacqueline Wilson has written loads of other great books too, honest. Jacqueline Wilson is such a cool author. She is one of my favourites. It was awful trying to choose one of her books, they were all so good. Eventually I settled for this book. I’ve tried to tell you all I can about Vicky Angel. I hope you will read it.

Felicity W, Headington Junior School.


A Series of Unfortunate Events: A Bad Beginning is the most unusual and interesting book I have ever read. It has a sad beginning, it is sad throughout with an even more sad end.

The book is about three Baudelaire children and their encounter with a greedy and cruel relative.

Although it's quite sad, I really enjoyed the book because just when you think the children will have a happy ending, something worse happens and it keeps you wondering when the unfortunate events are going to end. I really admire the children’s courage. The author also explains meanings of certain words e.g. literally and figuratively. I feel really lucky to have my family and friends around me. I am looking forward to the second book in the series and hope the children are happy.

Ashuk Z, Quainton Hall School.

WHICH WITCH Eva Ibbotson

I loved this book because it was hilarious and magical. My mum read it to me with great expression. This story really held my attention, it charmed me at once with its book power. There is a magic competition and it gets you excited and eager to read on. The characters are fantastic. Madame Olympia (a nasty witch) is really wicked and creepy. Beladonna is a kind gentle witch who just cannot manage black magic. Arriman the Awful is a dark wizard who thinks he’s looking for a dark witch. You think the wicked genius Madame Olympia is going to win but the story goes in an unexpected direction. It was very funny. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Hannah P, Oakleigh House School.


What can I say? JK Rowling has succeeded in producing another absolutely thrilling book. The Goblet of Fire is the fourth of the Harry Potter series, where Harry becomes a fully fledged teenager. He and his friends Ron and Hermione join up to watch the Quidditch World Cup. As Ireland thrash Bulgaria, they witness the first part of the puzzle. The year goes on and it just gets better. Harry is entered for the Triwizard Tournament even though he is under age, and sure enough he conquers Lord Voldemort yet again with his amazing strength and bravery. With a hint of romance, a dollop of suspense and a truckload of excitement, this book has to be one of my top five. JK Rowling has a fantastic talent at developing her books and I’m sure she will not fail in producing another three nail-biting novels.

Bethany G, St John’s Middle School.

GROOSHAM GRANGE Anthony Horowitz

When David Eliot is expelled from Beton College, his cruel and ambitious parents are in despair. Then a prospectus arrives for Groosham Grange: ‘an old-fashioned school which still believes in discipline’. Determined to tame David, his parents dispatch him instantly, in the middle of the Christmas holidays.

Groosham Grange is a school for witchcraft. Staff include a vampire, a werewolf, a one-eyed dwarf and a two-headed headmaster. The punishments for non-conformity are dire, but David, a natural rebel, doesn’t want to be a witch. Can he outwit the staff, with their supernatural powers? Can he escape before the initiation ceremony on his thirteenth birthday which is only days away?

This book is edge-of-your-seat exciting and hilariously funny in lots of different ways. There’s satire, witty word play, and larger than life characters including David’s only friend at school, plucky Jill. You’ll be gripped and grinning from the first page to the last.

Julia Jarman


The impact of the first page is instant and unforgettable. ‘The Iron Man stepped forward off the cliff into nothingness.’ He pieces himself together, most of himself anyway. And then he feels hungry. The problem is, he only eats iron. Understandably, the farmers don’t want him eating all their tractors and machinery and barbed wire fences, so they dig a trap for him.

Hogarth, a farmer’s son, sees him fall in the trap and takes pity on him. So begins the touching alliance between the two, where trust replaces fear. Wonderfully told by the greatest poet/storyteller of our times, you would think that was good enough. Not for Hughes. From this point on the story takes off, literally, into space, and is transformed into a pulsating battle in which the Iron Man has to save the Earth itself. Yet, essentially, despite all the frantic cosmic fireworks this remains a story with a heart — the heart of the Iron Man, who proves (as his friend Hogarth knows) that he has a kind and noble spirit.

Michael Morpurgo

JUST WILLIAM Richmal Crompton

William is one of the most famous and best-loved characters in children’s fiction. Socks round his ankles and cap awry, he roams the countryside round his home village leaving a trail of chaos, while his long-suffering mother sighs, his father makes distantly disparaging remarks, his snooty older sister incessantly complains about him and his nervy brother Robert frets that William is ruining his love life.

Each of the forty-odd William books is a collection of short stories that take in a remarkable range of characters and settings. The plots are clever and the dialogue superb. Highlights are William’s declamatory sarcasms from the scenes of mayhem (‘I was only tryin’ to help. S’pose you don’t want me to try helpin’ in future.’), and the ghastly, lisping, spoilt Violet Elizabeth Bott’s threats — ‘I’ll thcweam and thcweam and thcweam until I’m thick! I can, you know.’

Anne Fine

AESOP’S FUNKY FABLES Vivian French, illustrated by Korky Paul

Everyone knows some of these stories off by heart. Aesop wrote them two and a half thousand years ago. They must be good stories if they’re still around after all that time!

Vivian French has taken old favourites like ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’ and ‘The Boy who Cried Wolf’, and made them funky! Yes … funky! Can you hear the bass? Can you hear the drums? Get in the groove and me oh my, that Aesop was a funky guy. And the pictures? Man, they’re off the wall. All of them drawn by Korky Paul!

Shoo Rayner


This book’s sumptuous cover — eyes staring from a silver mask, and the Venice waterfront in the background — will attract you across a bookshop. It’s a timeslip story in which present-day Lucien, diagnosed with what turns out to be brain cancer, finds that he can ‘stravagate’ to Bellezza, a place very like Venice — where he meets the spirited Arianna, a girl who doesn’t see why being female means she can’t be a gondolier (or mandolier, as they’re called in Bellezza).

The story switches between past and present, with an intriguing twist when Lucien’s parents take him on holiday to the real Venice — complete with McDonalds and the trappings of modern tourism. If you like a story that combines adventure, intrigue, deceptions, gloriously luxurious settings, divided loyalties and a hint of romance, this is for you — and it’s only the first of three stories set in Mary Hoffman’s fantasy Italy.

Linda Newbery


Sorrow and Misery, a goose and a gander, belong to Farmer Skint of Woebegone Farm. Just from the name, you can tell at once what kind of a state the farm is in! But one day, Farmer Skint’s luck changes. Sorrow lays a golden egg that hatches into a golden goose. She is a beautiful creature who brings happiness and luck to anyone who touches her. Her name is Joy. For all the ways Joy transforms life on Woebegone Farm you’ll have to read the book.

This is a happy story that brings a smile to your face — just as if you had been able to touch Joy in person! It’s a lively, quick read and there are some good hidden jokes for on-the-ball readers.

Abigail Anderson

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